Good morning. We will know later today if the Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl. Buckle up.
We’ll start today with my game preview. I focused on the rivalry that has grown from the college days of Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll. Interesting that Harbaugh tried to recruit Carroll’s youngest son, Nate, when Harbaugh was the head coach at San Diego. Equally interesting is it turns out Nate and Harbaugh played one-on-one basketball during the in-home visit.
Carroll often shoots hoops. There is a basketball hoop in the auditorium the team uses during team meetings. Carroll told Russell Wilson he was the starter while shooting hoops. Just a tidbit that seems odd for Harbaugh to be doing at the Carroll home. Nate Carroll is an offensive assistant for the Seahawks.
> Our Dave Boling writes it’s imperative for the Seahawks to keep their composure today. From Boling:
Nobody’s suggesting they show up to a fistfight waving an olive branch.
Just be smart.
As much as the Seattle Seahawks will be tempted to at this point, they don’t have to prove their toughness. They’ve split two scraps with the San Francisco 49ers already this season.
Sunday, with the NFC championship at stake, along with the Super Bowl berth that goes with it, this game between two evenly matched teams will be won with execution and intelligence.
They must play with passionate intensity from snap-to-whistle and sideline-to-sideline. But after the whistle, they’ll benefit from doing nothing but walk back to the huddle as if nothing happened.
It’s called tactical restraint. Or, as Kipling counseled: “… keep your head while all about you are losing theirs.”
> The 49ers think they have improved enough to win in Seattle.
> Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News on why he thinks the 49ers will win.
> Jim Moore writes the crowd won’t be enough for the Seahawks to make it to New York.
> Cliff Avril says adapting is the key to shutting down Colin Kaepernick.
> A scout says Percy Harvin’s absence is a “giant” factor in the game.
> Here’s the game advance from the Everett Herald.
> The AP writes the 49ers and Seahawks belong in the NFC title game.
> Five matchups to watch from Seahawks.com.
> ESPN writes no Harvin, no problem.
> John Clayton’s five greatest rivalries includes this Seahawks-49ers one.
> MMQB looks at San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
> Here’s Boomer Esiason on how the Seahawks can beat the 49ers and get to New York:
> Michael Silver on the Seahawks-49ers rivalry.
> Picks from NFL.com.
> NFC championship game preview from NFL.com.
> Joe Montana thinks Colin Kaepernick has a lot of room for improvement.
> Secret superstars of the championship round from Pro Football Focus.
> Greg Cosell examines Russell Wilson’s “slump.”
Non-Seahawks game of the day
New England at Denver, noon
> The view from New England.
> The view from Denver.
Divisional-round playoff highlights
Flashback video of the day
Recipe of the day
Triple pork sliders.
Chalk talk with Brock Huard
Today in bacon